Hyponatremia is a condition in which the level of sodium in the blood is too low. This occurs when there is an imbalance in the amount of water and sodium in the body—too little sodium for the amount of water present. As a result, water moves into the body’s cells causing them to swell. This condition may be serious. It requires care from your doctor.
There are different types of hyponatremia, each resulting in low sodium in the body:
|Euvolemic hyponatremia||Water level increases, but sodium level stays the same|
|Hypervolemic hyponatremia||Water and sodium levels increase, but the water gain is greater|
|Hypovolemic hyponatremia||Water and sodium levels decrease, but the sodium loss is greater|
Causes of hyponatremia include:
Risk factors include:
With mild hyponatremia, you may have no symptoms at all. During more severe cases, symptoms may include:
If left untreated, the condition may lead to death.
Your doctor will:
Tests may include:
Treatment may depend on:
In most cases, your doctor will want to correct the sodium level slowly. Serious complications may occur when sodium levels rise too rapidly. Treatment options include:
To help reduce your chance of getting hyponatremia, take these steps:
American Academy of Family Physicians
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
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Last reviewed September 2011 by Lawrence Frisch, MD, MPH
Last Updated: 9/9/2011
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